The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity. The longer wavelengths enable Webb to look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.
The telescope half of the James Webb Space Telescope next to the sunshield half, during the start of the integration process. Image credit: Northrop Grumman
The integrated Webb Telescope clears critical sunshield deployment testing. Technicians successfully performed a critical test on Webb's 5-layer sunshield by fully deploying each of its uniquely sized layers to the same position that they will have while orbiting the Sun a million miles away from Earth.
This time-lapse video reveals NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is now a fully assembled observatory, and is accomplishing large scale deployments and movements that it will perform while in space.
In 2019, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope celebrated the full mechanical and electrical assembly of the world's largest, most powerful space science observatory ever built. Meaning that Webb's two halves have been physically put together and its wiring harnesses and electrical interfaces have been connected.
Following assembly, the Webb team moved on to successfully send deployment and tensioning commands to all five layers of its sunshield, which is designed to protect the observatory's mirrors and scientific instruments from light and heat, primarily from the Sun.